| || The Orinoco is the world’s fourth largest river in terms of the volume of its flow. From its source in southern Venezuela it flows into the Atlantic, collecting most of the region’s other rivers and streams along the way. It is navigable over 700 kilometers (435 miles) and is still the main transport route into a region with an area of almost 180,000 square kilometers (70,000 square miles). The lack of transportation links has allowed the Amazonian forest and savannah, with their 8,000 plant species and 680 bird species, to remain relatively undamaged. Indigenous peoples have also survived - the Yanomami in particular, one of the world’s few remaining populations of hunter-gatherers. But this is only a respite. Landless farmers set fire to the forest, driving away the Yanomami; poachers use them as guides when seeking rare animals for rich collectors; and gold prospectors exploit them for cheap labor. The massacre of the Yanomami is intensifying, and it seems unlikely that any of them will remain untouched by globalization.
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